As this calendar year comes to a close, I am enormously grateful to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit for all the many and varied blessings we have received this year. Truly His mercy abounds. The Good Shepherd parish, located as we are in the centre of Melbourne’s population, has a mission to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all Australians. We model the ancient tradition of Eastern Orthodoxy in a modern, secular culture. We conduct our services in English so that Australians of all backgrounds can learn, grow and find healing in their body and soul.
Blog Tag: Liturgical Year
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Seemingly every year there’s a mad rush to tie up loose ends at work, shop, party and stress over visiting the relatives. Despite our streets and shops having awesome decorations, Christmas in Australia has become increasingly secular. The most counter-cultural thing you can do is to make this season an opportunity for increasing your spiritual sensitivity.
As we journey through life we become more and more aware of the patterns and cycles that emerge — in the natural world, in history, in society, in the spiritual life, and in the life of the Church. The Church in her wisdom has organised cycles that guide us through the events, the fasts and feasts of the Christian Year. The Church Calendar urges us to join this common life of the living Body of Christ, the Church. Let’s learn some more about the purpose of the Liturgical Year and its highlights.
The word Advent comes from the Latin Adventus which means “coming.” In the Church calendar Advent refers to the coming of Christ, and is the ecclesiastical season just before Christmas. Advent commences two weeks prior to the Nativity of Christ (Christmas), and is commonly referred to as the “Nativity Fast.” On these two Sundays we are reminded of the Holy Ancestors of God and the Holy Fathers, Patriarchs, and Prophets who played a role in the coming of the Messiah. In the hymns of the Sunday cycle of services, we hear of their great faith and are called to build our own.
Epiphany is celebrated on Jan 6th, and it commemorates the Baptism of our Lord in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17). Epiphany is one of the major feasts of the Liturgical Year. During this service the Parish Priest blesses the Holy Water for the year, which is used to bless the homes of the people in the congregation. Let’s learn some more about Epiphany, the Blessing of the Water, and House Blessings. The meaning of Epiphany The doctrine of the Trinity is revealed in the Gospel reading of Christ’s Baptism, which reads:
The Lenten season is about penitence and reconciliation with God. The Holy Orthodox Faith gives us a prescribed way to achieve this through fasting, prayer and almsgiving. During the time of Lent we endeavour to prepare ourselves in holiness that we might properly greet the Risen Christ at the greatest of all Christian Feast Days, Pascha (also known as Easter). Let's learn more about the purpose of Lent, the weeks of remembrance during Lent, and how Lent is practiced.
In the seven weeks approaching Pascha, the Orthodox fast and pray during a season that we call, “Lent.” Lent is a practice that has been part of the Orthodox tradition for thousands of years. Let’s discover what Lent is, and learn a little more about its long historical development. Great Lent We can divide Eastern Orthodox Lent into three basic periods:
In the Orthodox Church the Easter Feast is officially called Pascha, which means “Passover,” and it remembers the new and everlasting covenant foretold by the prophets, which was fulfilled by Christ’s Resurrection. Pascha is the major feast of the Orthodox Liturgical year, and is a time of exultant joy and celebration, because Christ has broken the power of death! Let's learn some more about what Pascha is and how it is celebrated.
Why do the dates for Pascha/Easter often differ between the Orthodox Chuch and the Western Church? Last year, Pascha (Easter Sunday) fell on exactly the same day for the Orthodox Church and the Western Church. It will be the same again in the years 2017, 2025, 2028, and more, but different for all the other years in between.
The Transfiguration is the time when Jesus led three disciples to the top of a mountain and He was revealed in His heavenly glory. This marked the event when His disciples truly knew Him for Who He Is. Let’s learn some more about what the Gospels say about the Transfiguration, and how this event informed our understanding of God. The event is described in Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, and Luke 9:28-36. The Transfiguration: Written in the Gospels “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”